Goal reported on Thursday that Manchester United is willing to sell Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez after the 25-year-old made it clear he is unhappy with the opportunities he has received this season under David Moyes.
The story made rational sense.
Now entering his prime and soon to turn 26, the fact Hernandez wasn’t put on earlier by Moyes against Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinal second leg was an indicator of exactly where the Mexican stands at Old Trafford. United needed goals, Wayne Rooney was clearly struggling for fitness and Hernandez had put in his best performance of the season the previous weekend against Newcastle. Yet Chicharito got just 15 minutes to make an impact.
It seemed like the writing was on the wall.
But where should the international move? Here’s a look at some options, something the popular Mexican is unlikely to be short of:
If at least some guarantee of first team minutes is what Chicharito is looking for, a move to Real Madrid and Barcelona is likely off the table, but with Diego Costa rumored to be headed to Chelsea, Hugo Sanchez’s former club Atletico Madrid would fit the bill perfectly. As hardly needs repeating, it is a top club, with a top coach in Diego Simeone.
Outside of those, the likes of Sevilla, Villarreal (alongside Giovani Dos Santos and Javier Aquino), Real Sociedad (with Carlos Vela) and Valencia could be tempting, but there is no guarantee of Champions League soccer in coming years and Hernandez would likely have to take a wage cut.
Staying at Manchester United is still a possibility. Moyes’ position seems still to be under question in the UK press. Even if the manager stays, thrashing out deals is never straightforward and clubs may not want to pay what the Old Trafford hierarchy is asking for.
Elsewhere, Arsenal is notoriously short upfront and Hernandez would probably start ahead of Olivier Giroud, while Chelsea could be an interesting option with Jose Mourinho likely to shake things up in the striking department this summer.
Tottenham Hotspur has regularly been linked with the former Chivas player, but has a not dissimilar striker in Spaniard Roberto Soldado. Also, the club is in flux at the moment.
Everton, on the other hand, could be in the market for a new forward with Romelu Lukaku only on loan from Chelsea and the Champions League still a possibility, although, again, wages could be problematic at Goodison Park.
Manchester City and Liverpool would be out of the equation because of the longstanding rivalry that exists with United.
Bayern Munich is full with Robert Lewandowski joining in June, but his current club Borussia Dortmund could suit Hernandez and the Champions League quarterfinalist is likely to strength in attack, although one negative is that it has already signed Colombian Adrian Ramos.
Schalke is the other German club set to feature in the Champions League next season. Although it already has Klaas-Jan Huntelaar on its books, there have been rumors he could move to England.
Outside of Juventus – which boasts Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente – plenty of Italy’s elite would be keen to have someone with Chicharito’s quality onboard.
AC Milan’s Mario Balotelli’s future isn’t secure, while Inter’s Argentine duo Rodrigo Palacio and Diego Milito are both the wrong side of 30.
Hernandez would also be an improvement on what Roma, Fiorentina, Parma and Lazio have at present.
There seems little likelihood that Chicharito would move to France, with Paris Saint-Germain very strong upfront and Monaco at its limit with non-European Union players and already with Radamel Falcao and Dimitar Berbatov in the offense, although that situation could change rapidly.
The only other club would be Marseille, who is set to undergo major changes this offseason and could yet have Argentine Marcelo Bielsa in charge.
Whenever the suggestion that Hernandez will be leaving United arises, the prospect of him signing with MLS also comes up.
One only has to look at ticket sales in the United States for Mexico national team games to see what a huge marketing tool Hernandez would be for MLS and the impact he would have undoubtedly have on the league and soccer in the United States as a whole. Then, with flagship new teams in New York and Miami, as well as a change of owner at Chivas USA, all in the pipeline, it is tempting to speculate.
Not many would’ve predicted Beckham’s move across the Atlantic at the stage in his career that he did, but Hernandez’s situation is different and while the Englishman had already achieved at two of the world’s biggest clubs when he moved to LA Galaxy, Chicharito probably feels he still has work to do in Europe. And he is highly regarded enough to be able to earn big money at a club in the Champions League.
A move to MLS at some stage in Hernandez’s career is a strong possibility, but it’s unlikely to happen right now.
For Beckham at MLS, read Johan Cryuff at Chivas.
Back in early 2012, fans had been complaining about owner Jorge Vergara not investing in the team and the poor results. Then, in February of that year, Cruyff was announced as a club advisor to oversee its restructuring in a shock move.
It was a major coup at the time and although it didn’t exactly work out, if Vergara felt like really winning over fans at the club, there is nothing better he could do than bring Hernandez home.
Like with MLS, the striker would be unlikely to accede to such an offer at this stage in his career.